An aspect is a descriptive phrase that details part of your character’s personality and experiences. They are used in the game to give bonuses to actions that fit thematically with your character and to advance and diversify the storyline. Aspects are controlled by spending and earning fate points.
Types of Aspects
Each character starts with a number of aspects. Player characters start with 5, however this number can be increased or decreased based on the character.
Suggested aspects are:
- High Concept (required) – Sum up your character’s main purpose in one phrase
- Trouble (required) – Something that plagues him/her often along the way
- Background (suggested) – Where you came from (i.e. bloodlines, family status, etc.)
- Pilot Episode (suggested) – Something important you did to develop your High Concept
- Guest Starring (suggested) – Positive/Negative affiliation you encountered
These aspects should be descriptive enough to give your character flavor, but not so descriptive that they overly pigeonhole your character’s abilities. It’s up to the player and the GM to decide what is appropriate. At milestones you can reword or change your aspects, so don’t feel too pressured to get them perfect the first time.
When performing an action, a character can invoke an aspect to gain a bonus or penalty to the roll. Whenever this is done, the invoker subtracts 1 from his current fate point total. Note that the player does not need to invoke his or her own aspect. If an entity (room, car, cave, enemy, etc.) has an appropriate aspect the player spends 1 fate point to gain the bonus.
Compelling an aspect means that the compeller pays fate points to the compelee in exchange for him/her/it to do an action. To do this, the compeller puts X fate points on the table.
The compelee can then take those fate points if they do the specified action. If they don’t do the action, the compelee must pay 1 fate point as well. The aspect being compelled does not necessarily have to belong to either the compeller or the compelee, but it must relate to at least one in some way.
Lieutenant LeFleur has the aspect “Moderate Asthma”. When Lieutenant LeFleur catches Remy stealing the baroness’s pearls, Remy can do several things:
- Compel this aspect to make Lieutenant LeFleur get exhausted during the chase. Remy puts 1 fate point on the table. LeFleur accepts the fate point and stops. If LeFleur wanted to continue chasing, he had to sacrifice 1 of his fate points to cancel the exchange, leaving both parties with 1 less fate point.
- LeFleur makes a check to catch up to Remy. Remy then spends 1 fate point to invoke his aspect to give him -5 to his check.
Lisa visits her grandfather, Abe, before school starts at the nursing home. Abe has the aspect “… and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ’em.” Lisa wants to leave to get to school on time but Abe, being desperate for company, compells his own aspect, putting 2 fate points on the table if Lisa stays to listen.